Best part of my current house-sitting arrangement (besides the delightful new friend I've made, of course!)? The three season screened in porch I have hijacked as my sleeping quarters. The pure bliss of fresh breezes, bird sounds, and rain tinkling in the woods around me makes it impossible to be in a bad mood. I have been more motivated to work on the website and felt more creative than I have in months just being here.
Do you have a place you go when you are in a creative funk? Do you change something about your environment? What tips do you have to reset?
My coworkers often politely ask me where I live in that normal making light conversation sort of way. When I mention the town I get incredulous looks and gasps of pity that I commute over 75 miles each way to get to work. When I explain that actually, I only make the trek down once a week and return home days later, I get panicked expressions. If the conversation continues and I tell them I am waiting for my camper to arrive, inevitably the next query out of their mouth is, "So... Are you going to live in the parking lot?"
II'll be the first to admit I can be more than a little intense and a whole lot of quirky. But folks, even I cannot fathom the idea of rolling out of bed in my workplace parking lot. That takes the idea of Work-From-Home to a whole new level that I am not ready for. Boundaries people.
Granted, the choice to go camper instead of relocating or simply renting an apartment is unconventional, however it is not without careful consideration, and I wanted to share a little about our decision to not only go with a slide-in camper, but what made the Kimbo 6 Camper appealing to us.
First, as we are very much manifesting this job change as a stepping stone, mobility was key. We own our home and love our little slice of paradise to no ends. Selling it and trading in for apartment or city-dwelling was not our goal. Plus, while Matt can truly work anywhere, he does enjoy his coworkers and position with the local college. Ace's father lives close by, and we wanted to limit uprooting her life, so another strike against moving was made. I could rent a small studio, but paying full prices [especially mid-to-post-pandemic prices] seemed to stink a little bit of throwing money away, or at least lining someone else's pocket. This concern, above all others, made it clear to us that if we could invest in something we owned, that was the priority.
Over what we like to call "Porchwine" in our house, Matt joked that what we really needed to make this and future transitions possible was a mobile apartment. We laughed and then realized, wait, those exist. We explored tiny houses and 30-ft campers. We looked at teardrop trailer and yurts. Pop-ups. Cowboy campers. Fixer-uppers. As we dreamed and tried to mold a reality our priorities became clear. We needed to find something that...
...Was more affordable than monthly rent of a small apartment in an urban area.
...Gave us the ability to move it when my position changed again.
...Was suitable for four season use
...Would be suitable for adventures besides a workday.
...Had easy upkeep for one person and did not need to be fully renovated.
...Did not have additional wheels or engines (we just aren't this sort of savvy).
...Did not require a new vehicle to transport.
...Could go anywhere we would want to drive.
...Was a sustainable option with solar opportunity.
...Looked gosh-darn badass.
As we chiseled down our priorities and narrowed our options, we kept coming back to the same concept: we would need to find an ultralight truck camper that was roomy enough for three plus a pup and burly enough to carry bikes, boards, and beers on adventures, but was manageable enough for me to use on my own 80% of the week.
Enter the Kimbo 6.
I knew there would be a lot to get used to. A new job with new coworkers and personalities and tics to learn. A schedule that has me away from my partner, child, dog, chickens, and very comfortable bed for a full three days a week. Time with just myself, as my network in my new locale is nil; just a dear friend's parents, that I also selfishly needed to be away in order to caretake their home.
Being alone is maybe the second hardest part. I am incredibly social and getting "home" to an empty house has caused more than a few teary calls to Matt. But it is second to living out of a suitcase. How did the traveling salesman of old do it? I suppose Willy had the American Dream* to peddle, and may be I do too, just a little bit. But man, even with the best Eagle Creek suitcase, this packing up, unpacking, repacking routine almost makes me feel like I am living a double life, or only half existing. Almost.
While we await my more permanent living solution of our Kimbo 6 truck camper, I have been housesitting for a small group of very generous, very kind relative strangers. I am so humbled by their wish to help me essentially stay on my feet and embrace my weird plan. Via text, they check in on me, instantly making me feel less alone. They offer me meals and company when the are home. They assure me I will be taken care of. They offer me days to "watch" their homes that truly need no watching, but the make me the offer anyway and never make me feel like a burden. Sipping out of their assorted coffee cups each morning fills me with hope as much as the caffeine I need for the day ahead.
Today; I don't have much else to say, except I am incredibly thankful and awed by the grace of strangers.
*In this post I reference - Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman: Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem. Penguin Modern Classics, 2000.
“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want, on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar
Today I start on a new adventure. A new job, a new schedule that affects my family, and a WHOLE lot of alone time. Am I ready? For the work, I think so. For the fear of missing time with my loved ones, I don't know. Probably not. But now is the time to be brave and stiff-lipped. To remember the goal and the potential outcome. To remember that the most dangerous risk of all is the bet I'll be able to buy the freedom to do it later. Wish me luck and wish me strength.